Have you ever been caught in a drama that started with ‘one blasted little bird’ or ‘one yeye horse and his mouth’ or per chance a little fox? If you haven’t caught my drift yet, relax. I’m not finished but before I continue, if you are a lone wolf you better stop reading here because I don’t want you using this to validate your sociopath ways. 😉
We all need people. But sometimes our association with other people can be a bit *scratching head…complicated!
I’ll be there in a minute but let me give you two illustrations.
First there’s the ever popular game called Chinese whispers (or telephone in the United States) in which one person whispers a message to another, which is passed through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group. Errors typically accumulate in the retellings, so the statement announced by the last player differs significantly, and often amusingly, from the one uttered by the first (not amusing when it’s bad info involved #drama). Reasons for changes include anxiousness or impatience, erroneous corrections, personal misinterpretation and that some players may deliberately alter what is being said in order to guarantee a changed message by the end of it! (WIKIPEDIA)
Catch my drift? Keep reading…
The second illustration-
Bola and Bisi are friends.
Bola and Tolu are friends.
Bisi and Tolu are not friends.
Bisi confides in Bola and Tolu confides in Bola.
Bola in animated conversation unconsciously mentions some things in passing that Tolu told her to Bisi. Tolu hears about it from a random person and gets angry with Bola. Bola is shocked by what she’s hearing because she doesn’t even remember saying such plus it’s been so remixed that it sounds hurtful, cruel and malicious and she would never say such things.
——What a hot mess——–
Now back to the beginning!
For centuries men have enjoyed labelling the average woman as a gossip (research shows men looooooove to gossip too) 😉 However many times the men have been spot on. There’s never equity in information sharing and there’ll always be someone who knows a little more than the others know and wants to be the little bird who heard it from the horse’s mouth who was last seen with the little foxes!
Now before you start feeling self-righteous, I am not talking about keeping secrets. Most people are able to keep information that starts as; ‘This is a secret, please don’t tell anyone’…. unless they have malicious intent but most of the wahala lies with the info which the sender believes is confidential but does not communicate its confidential nature to the receiver thereby giving the receiver a free hand to disseminate it consciously or unconsciously at will.
Nobody likes to hear their name called up in matters of she said, he said, they said neither do they like the drama that ensues because many times it leads to a tell-all phase where even unrelated secrets are exposed as self-defence as well as a lot of hurt and betrayal and at the end of the day who is left to clean up the mess that remains of the friendship?
Whether in the office, at church, in school or in a social gathering, here are 10 tips to keep you drama free and to protect you when it comes to disseminating information.
1) A secret is a secret. If someone tells you a secret and states categorically that it is a secret then keep it a secret. If you have conflicting interests and need to keep your plate clean to prevent compromise, kindly ask the person not to tell you the secret.
2) Try to divulge the motives of the person giving you the information. You must realise that some people tell you things about others because they want to spoil the other person’s name or sow negative seeds in your heart. If the person’s motives are in any way questionable then take the info with a pinch of salt. Sometimes information disseminated are as a result of people’s thoughts and not actual events. For example; Thought: Tolu always has so much money, maybe she gets it from men. Word: Do you know Tolu sleeps around? #error
3) If the gist could only have come from one source or is obviously pointing to one person, telling it to someone else and saying- ‘a little bird told me’ or ‘I heard it from someone’ or ‘I had a dream’ or ‘I’m just advising you for your own good’ or ‘I’m not gonna tell you who it’s about or who told me’- isn’t clever, it is lame because tracing it to the source isn’t hard so if you must recount a story be wise.
4) Where information is concerned- the friend of my enemy is my enemy and the friend of my friend is my friend because that’s what usually happens. Like Bola in the second illustration, when people are in lighthearted conversation with their friends, they hardly guard the words uttered from their mouth so if for example you don’t want your story becoming front page news, don’t share it with someone who has a close friend you do not want knowing your business. Bola may have had no ulterior motives when she spilled the not-so-confidential gist to her ‘other’ friend Bisi but Bisi had no loyalties to Tolu and who knows, may not even have liked Tolu very much so Bola has unintentionally armed Bisi with info she can use against her other friend Tolu and guess who gets caught in the middle?
5) Don’t say things about other people that you would never admit to their faces. Now this clearly crosses the line from gossip to slander. If you say “Hey I heard Tolu stole Bisi’s boyfriend”. Tolu can choose to explain herself or ignore when she hears the story and may even laugh it off depending on the gravity but if you say “Tolu is a ho, keep your boo far from her. The last person who fell victim was Bisi”, then you have tried and sentenced her to a crime she may not be guilty of and when she hears, she’ll be angrier about the name-calling and slander arising from your cruel generalisations than the accompanying case study. If you must retell, keep it simple.
6) Anyone who gives you gossip will gossip about you. Shikena! You think you are immune sitting there enjoying the gossip she keeps bringing to you. Be careful hon, you ain’t that special, she’s probably using your life as a case study in her entertainment of her other friends!
7) Your comments matter. You don’t gossip but when you hear gossip you are quick to comment or even share similar stories you’ve heard. “So disappointed in Amaka, that’s how I heard Seyi did the same thing some weeks ago”. Don’t act all shocked when you hear you’ve been quoted out of context or your name keeps coming up. Remember sometimes these people are only looking for one word from your mouth- ‘Anything you say shall be used against you in the court of law’. Silence is golden.
8) If it means that much to you, don’t share it. The only information you can keep in check is information you haven’t told anybody. Now many times it’s hard to keep it all in but you can find a select few that you can trust with your life and unburden your secrets on them. Feel free to test them with an outrageous-must share-not dangerous to you if shared- secret to see if they can keep it. If they fail to keep it then you know you can definitely not trust them with your life’s dramas.
9) Be wary of people who seem overly concerned about you and want to know all that’s going on with you. If you are not moved to voluntarily share information with these people then don’t. Trust your instincts. Most of these people may camouflage as your most caring friends but really don’t have your best interests at heart and giving them information empowers them to hurt you.
10) Beware of technology! With the advent of tape recorders, phone voice recorders and others, you can be caught in a hot mess if you say something you shouldn’t. You may not be able to deny the voice on the recorder and many times the way it is played back may not be the way you intended to say it or the meaning you intended to convey. #drama
Most people have at least once in their lives been involved in such drama. Sometimes like the little foxes, it ruins promising friendships or really old ones. If you’ve been hurt by a friend who spilt the beans on you, remember that sometimes the person may not have intended to hurt you but by being careless with your information has exposed you to hurt and ridicule. Forgive the person but be more careful about your personal info in future and if you are the one who has inadvertently said, shared or re-broadcasted something you weren’t sure of, humiliating as it may be, own up and apologise. Nothing kills drama faster than a heart-felt apology.
Before you share something about someone, verify the story, ask yourself- Is it hurtful? Would I like someone to spread such stories about me? What if it isn’t true? Even if it’s true do I wanna get caught up in this sorta drama? What are my motives? How would my motives be interpreted if sh*t hits the fan? Think before you speak!
Philipians 4:8 says “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
If your mind is full of these things above, it will reflect in your conversation!
NO MORE DRAMA #NMD
Have a great drama-free weekend chutzpah fam,
Xoxo 😉 🙂 😉